This is Kevin Mackey's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Kevin Mackey's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Kevin Mackey
Seattle, WA
Leadership lessons learned from business & fatherhood
Interests: music, business, life, friends, sports, family, leadership
Recent Activity
It's been a while. A big reason why is that my wife and I became foster parents last spring to a smart, energetic, loving two-year-old (who's now three). We don't know how long he'll be with us, but he'll be loved while he's here. It's been altogether draining and fulfilling. I've had little time to think, let alone write, but it's been worth it. It recently got me thinking... I know lots of people who think they have what it takes to be a good business consultant. I know hardly any who think they have what it takes to be... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2011 at
Kevin Mackey is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 16, 2010
My body has failed again. Not the whole thing—just the ACL part. ACL reconstruction #4 failed in January after only three weeks after surgery. Now I'm recovering from reconstruction #5. The physical discomfort was manageable. The frustrating part was dependency on others for everything: My wife had to drive me to work, help me shower, and do "man" jobs around the house. My daughters had to fetch my food, water, clothes, books, etc. Co-workers and clients had to accommodate and fill gaps while I worked remotely. When I showed up on crutches, they had to help carry my things. My... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2010 at
My last post discussed four parenting and managing styles — Boss, Manipulator, Martyr, and Mentor — from Mentor Manager, Mentor Parent. Assuming you agreed that Mentor is best, here are four strategies to help you become one. [They're numbered because they build on each other. Start with 1, get it right, then move to 2. If an earlier step falls apart, go back and fix it before working on the next one.] 1. Structuring: Establish values and expectations Values — not just right and wrong behaviors, but why. Don't take the Because I said so! shortcut — it teaches your... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2010 at
Thanks for the comment 'Dad is in the House'! I'm with you--they need to know we've got the "force" option in our back-pocket, but come to their own conclusions that they're better off chosing to do it themselves. This is where the child/employee comparrison breaks down a bit... we can fire the employee.
Toggle Commented Feb 23, 2010 on Mentor manager, mentor dad at
I've hated most parenting books that I've started. Business books take 250 pages to say what they could say in under 50. The big ideas of business and fatherhood are mostly the same, and since none of us has time to read all the books, this blog tries to share some of the important stuff in bite-sized chunks. One parenting book that's not bad is Mentor Manager, Mentor Parent by Dowling and Mielenz. Its big idea is that parents and managers use four "styles" of controlling others, and that one—mentoring—is most effective. Here are some common control styles and how... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2010 at
Thanks Nick - great point of clarification: I think life maps are good because YOU design the map to live with purpose. The mistake I call out in this post is needing someone else to draw give you a map. - Kevin
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2010 on Mistake Monday - I needed a map at
For much of my career in business and technology, I refused to move without a detailed road map. I wanted someone or something to show me what to do next. As a technical program manager, I wanted specific business requirements before developing a new solution. As a new consultant, I wanted each contract to clearly specify my scope of work so that all parties would know what I would and would not do. I was unwilling to go out on a limb and design new maps to meet needs and solve problems. If something went wrong, I wanted a "map"... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2010 at
The feedback I hear most often about this blog is, "I really enjoy reading it, but I have no idea why you write it. What do you hope to get out of it?" My response is usually something like, "I want to get better at communicating ideas, and this is a good medium to practice on. More important, I enjoy writing it. I've learned a lot of lessons through trial and error, and I love knowing that others might learn vicariously through my mistakes." Last night I was reading Seth Godin's Linchpin, and he expressed beautifully what I've been trying... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2010 at
Great quote - Thanks!
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Michael Jordan. His posters adorned my bedroom walls, door, and ceiling. His play was a gift. Jordan was insanely competitive and his favorite motivational tool was the chip on his shoulder. In preparation for each game, he'd identify someone on the opposing team who'd ever said anything to doubt or disrespect him. Jordan then dwelt upon it until he came to a boiling point, and poured out his rage on the court in a floury of points against his enemy. When Jordan couldn't find a negative comment from an opposing team or... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2010 at
What's most important to you: methods or outcomes? Most business leaders and dads answer outcomes but their life says methods. Parents latch onto methods early, and many let their methods become dogma. They span from: "We believe in the Ferber method—let 'em cry it out!" to "It's cruel to leave a baby alone to cry." "Spank 'em early and often—He that spareth his rod hateth his son!" to "Spanking is child abuse!" (Neither side is ever as black & white as they claim to be.) "We believe in home schooling—it's a parent's job to instruct children." to "We believe in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2010 at
Thanks Jeremy! We'll have to compare notes when we're both done with Linchpin. I'm half-way through, and so far it seems to read more like a collection of blog posts than a book, which makes it harder for me to retain everything.
As a 29 year-old Program & Operations Manager at Microsoft, I thought I'd arrived. I had a team of 10+ employees in Redmond, 10+ contractors scattered around the globe, a $10M annual budget, and a big swank office. There would've been nothing wrong with these things if I'd treated them as secondary. My mistake was making them primary, ofttimes caring more about retaining and growing my "empire" than delivering value. Yes, the teams delivered value, but my unnecessary focus on the secondary stuff robbed time and energy from what really mattered. Two quick examples: I was asked to take over... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2010 at
You did a lot of good stuff this past week. Well done. Did you do the best stuff? What was your opportunity cost? "Wow Kevin, sounds like a great discussion for an Economics 101 class. I think I'll pass on this one." OK, I know opportunity cost isn't a sexy idea, but it's one that leaders in business and fatherhood need to think about all the time. Since multitasking is a myth, you're constantly choosing one thing, person, task or idea in which to invest your time, money, and attention. Everything else you could invest in at that moment is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2010 at
Hard work is a good thing. My mistake was making it the most important thing. Often, instead of solving important problems and creating value for customers, I delivered very long and lifeless lists of completed tasks. Early in my career at Microsoft, I did some silly stuff in the name of hard work: Competed with my boss to be the first (out of hundreds) car into the parking lot each day Frequently worked past 1:00 AM, got up by 5:30 AM to do it again, and boasted to co-workers about how little sleep I needed (Full disclosure: I still pull... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2010 at
Want to lead well, have less stress, and build better relationships in business and fatherhood? Don't take it personally when people say and do things that you don't like. People are rebellious, spiteful, mean, ignorant, smug, etc. It's easy to accept this when it's just "people", but we take it personally when it comes from those we care about most. Personal examples from business: A colleague gave me feedback that sounded as if he was calling my character into question. My gut reaction was to take it personally and question his character, but I paused, listened, and received valuable feedback... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2010 at
It's Monday morning, but it sure doesn't feel like it. I'm on a mini vacation with my family in snowy Leavenworth, WA. I do not have a case of the Mondays. This weekend reminds me that I need to take my family on more vacations. We've made great memories in some great places like Sea World, Sedona, the Disney parks, Mexico, Deception Pass, and Whistler. Many of my girls' best memories come from these places and this weekend has been no exception. But my 9 year-old is half-way to adulthood, and we haven't come close to taking our family to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2010 at
Want to give yourself a chance at becoming a decent leader in business and fatherhood? Pursue a balance of confidence and humility. Confident humility is tough to define, but it looks and smells like maturity. It's an attitude and presence you can see in those who know their strengths and weaknesses. They've succeeded enough to believe in themselves, and failed enough to know how fallible they are. Pursuing confidence is straight-forward and has been written about a million times. The pursuit of humility is more rewarding, challenging and endless. The moment you believe you've succeeded at humility is the moment... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2010 at
A mistake I made often as a new leader in business and family was an unwillingness to be direct. Instead of giving direct feedback to those I had concerns with, I: Gave non-verbal queues Soft-peddled the message Complained to others about the one with whom I had concerns (a.k.a. back-stabbing and gossip) Used passive-aggressive sarcasm I had a spirit of criticism, but I wanted to be liked and I didn't want to create waves. People figured out that I was critical of something in just about everyone, but I wasn't willing to say it directly to their face. This left... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2010 at
Are you designing your legacy? What will you be remembered for? What will you leave behind? How will you impact the future's current events? How will you impact your grandchildren and great-grandchildren? There's a lot of good thinking out there today about 1-year and 5-year goal setting and lifestyle design. But what about legacy design? How many are designing and acting on plans to impact and bless future generations? Some, like MLK, Helen Keller, and Billy Graham were clear early-on about the legacy they wanted to leave. Most of us, however, just don't think or plan this way. We focus... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2010 at
Kevin Mackey is now following Anil Dash
Jan 7, 2010
Kevin Mackey is now following Crosshairs
Jan 7, 2010
<"My Biggest Mistakes" are now weekly series with posts each Monday morning. Enjoy!> I love competition. It drives everyone to improve and leads to better products, services, prices, and choices. My mistake was competing harder against my own teammates than I did against my competition. It started in high school and college basketball. My approach was to: identify the teammate I had to beat out for playing time find his weaknesses make him look bad in practice by harassing him with defense and exploiting his weaknesses (and make sure the coaches see his weaknesses) daily persist and wear him down... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2010 at
I'm taking a new approach to goal-setting for the new year. (Thanks to Chris Brogan for the idea) I've chosen three words to use as compass points for my efforts in 2010. They’re not resolutions. They’re ways to frame what I plan to do and focus my efforts. Here are my three words for 2010: Connector — My past networking efforts have focused on getting connected. This year, I'll put my network to use for everyone in it by connecting people who will benefit by knowing each other. Value — I will ruthlessly ask, "Does this activity provide the most... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2010 at